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Interaction with user documentation: A preliminary study
Open Universiteit, Netherlands.
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5611-9583
2013 (English)In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 2013, 2013, p. 41-46Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

An exploratory study was conducted into the interaction with documentation displayed by users of an unknown software tool. Five adult men were observed during their work with a software simulation of a fictitious machine for the production of liquorice. Their only source of information on the machine's functioning was its printed user manual. The log data from the observations was analyzed with a view to pinpointing interesting patterns of behaviour that deserve further, more formal, research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. p. 41-46
Series
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series
Keywords [en]
documentation behaviour, documentation design, documentation interaction, end-user documentation, manuals, user manuals
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-21611DOI: 10.1145/2503859.2503866Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84883693965ISBN: 9781450322997 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-21611DiVA, id: diva2:650166
Conference
2013 International Conference on Information Systems and Design of Communication, ISDOC 2013, 11 July 2013 through 12 July 2013, Lisbon
Note

Sponsors: ACM/SIGDOC European Chapter (EuroSIGDOC)

Available from: 2013-09-20 Created: 2013-09-20 Last updated: 2019-12-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Designing technical information: Challenges regarding service engineers’ information-seeking behaviour
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing technical information: Challenges regarding service engineers’ information-seeking behaviour
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is a gap of knowledge regarding relevant aspects of users’ information-seekingbehaviours. The research presented in this thesis aims at gaining a deeper knowledge about such behaviours and discussing the consequences the behaviours may have on the design practice of technical communicators when designing technical information during product development. The information needs of users, and where they go to obtain information to satisfy these needs, are considered relevant aspects. The research presented in this thesis is limited to service engineers performing maintenance in a workshop. The objective is to try to frame the information needs service engineers give evidence of in a work task and map where they go to satisfy these needs. An ethnographic research approach were selected where empirical data was collected, analysed and interpreted from a theoretical viewpoint: a synthesis of Byström and Hansen’s Conceptual Framework for Tasks in Information Studies and Systemic-Structural Theory of Activity. Seven in-house aftermarket service engineers where observed by means of participant observation while performing maintenance work tasks on machine equipment taken out of service in a maintenance workshop in Sweden.The results reveal that these service engineers gave evidence of fifty (50) different information needs, that they actively searched and selected four (4) types of sources of information to satisfy these needs, but also that service engineers seldom seek instructions.

The consequence for technical communicators having the intention of designing to satisfy the cognitive information needs of individuals, is that it is a challenge to satisfy every information need. The information needs unique to any one individual and those depending on the work task context, as well as those that are specific to a work role in an organisation rather than to the machine equipment, are challenging to satisfy. This research indicates that the same type of information is used to satisfy different types of information needs. The information designed to satisfy a specific information need may thus be used to satisfy an entirely different need.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2015
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 226
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-29943 (URN)978-91-7485-250-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2016-01-29, Filen, Campus Eskilstuna, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-12-16 Created: 2015-12-16 Last updated: 2016-01-21Bibliographically approved
2. Shaping thought through action: A study of the use and design of technical information
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shaping thought through action: A study of the use and design of technical information
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with the design of technical information, such as a user manual for an industrial device, based on the searching and reading behaviour of process operators and maintenance technicians. Such industrial professionals, who use tools like measuring equipment, are sometimes unable to get the support they need from searching and reading in a text- and image-based tool manual in order to perform work tasks. If such a manual is the only available source of information, the user will either give up or attempt a workaround which ends up compromising the safety, quality, satisfaction, efficiency or effectiveness of the work task. Research within technical communication and human-computer interaction suggests how manuals can be designed to support users in accomplishing tasks. These suggestions are based upon studies of how users approach the use of tools and tool manuals, as well as how the design of procedural and declarative information supports users. However, there is limited knowledge about how users search and read manuals, and how manuals can be designed to support such searching and reading behaviour. This dissertation aims to contribute knowledge to technical communicators about how technical information can be designed to support industrial professionals in accomplishing their work tasks. An ethnographic research method was selected to study the behaviour exhibited by process operators and maintenance technicians’ while they search and read sources of information in order to perform work tasks with tools. The results show that some participants were unable to perform a task after searching and reading the manual. The empirical material has been analysed using Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. This was to gain a deeper understanding of how thought and language influence—and are influenced by—searching and reading behaviours, as well as the task behaviours during tool use. This dissertation's contribution is a design method for technical communicators that will enable them to support users in the shaping of mental representations about what results are possible to accomplish with a tool. The method involves the design of tangible tokens that signify the results and components of a tool. As the end-user arranges these symbols into a result model they are supported in their process of shaping a mental representation.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen handlar om hur operatörer och underhållstekniker i industrin söker och läser i information för att utföra arbetsuppgifter, samt hur teknikinformation kan designas utifrån deras sök- och läsbeteenden. Yrkesverksamma i industrin, som använder verktyg i form av exempelvis mätutrustning, upplever ibland att de inte får stöd i att utföra sina arbetsuppgifter genom att söka och läsa i en text- och bildbaserad verktygsmanual. Om en sådan manual är den enda tillgängliga informationskällan kommer de antingen att ge upp eller försöka med en tillfällig lösning vilket äventyrar säkerheten, kvaliteten, tillfredsställelsen, eller effektiviteten för arbetsuppgiften. Forskning inom teknikinformation och människa-datorinteraktion föreslår hur manualer kan designas för att stötta användare i att utföra arbetsuppgifter. Dessa förslag baseras på studier om hur användare går tillväga när de använder ett verktyg och dess manual, samt hur utformningen av instruktioner och beskrivningar stöttar användare. Dock finns begränsad kunskap om hur en användare söker och läser i manualer och hur de kan designas utifrån användarens sök- och läsbeteende. Syftet med avhandlingen är att bidra med kunskap till teknikinformatörer om hur teknikinformation kan designas för att stötta yrkesverksamma i industrin i att utföra sina arbetsuppgifter. En etnografisk metod valdes för att studera hur operatörer och underhållstekniker söker och läser i informationskällor när de utför arbetsuppgifter med olika verktyg. Resultaten visar bland annat att vissa deltagare inte kunde utföra en arbetsuppgift efter att ha sökt och läst i manualen. De observerade beteendena analyseras utifrån Vygotskys sociokulturella teori. Detta för få fördjupad kunskap om hur tanke och språk påverkar—och påverkas av—sök- och läsbeteenden samt hur verktyget användes. Avhandlingens bidrag är en designmetod som vänder sig till teknikinformatörer för hur de kan stötta användare i att forma en mental representation om vilka resultat som går att uppnå med ett verktyg. Metoden innebär att teknikinformatören designar symboler som representerar resultat och komponenter i ett verktyg. När användarna arrangerar dessa symboler till en resultatmodell, stöttas de i att forma en mental representation om de resultat som går att uppnå med verktyget.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2020. p. 110
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 307
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Design
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-46561 (URN)978-91-7485-455-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-01-31, Filen, Verktyget, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2019-12-17 Created: 2019-12-17 Last updated: 2019-12-30Bibliographically approved

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Lundin, Jonatan

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